This thesis considers an implicitly spatial model (Cellular Automaton model) to investigate the effects of space on stability/ coexistence, diversity, pattern formation and invasibility within community structures.
Landscape size is fundamental to the model's stability and to species richness found in the equilibrium state. A discrete Markov model and continuous differential equation model are used to compare the dynamical responses of homogeneous models to those of a hetereogeneous model such as the Cellular Automaton. The explicitly spatial heterogeneous model allows coexistence of four species over large ranges of parameter spaces, where the homogeneous models have limiting dynamics resulting in three species coexistence.
Disturbance spread is damped to a 'tentacle-like' spread in large landscapes fascilitating a decrease in the total disturbance response.
Any form of pattern or spatial order predisposes the model to being highly sensitive to perturbation. The generation of spatial diversity is dependent on the initial spatial configuration and whether the model will increase the spatial disorder or create highly patterned structures. This dependence is monitored through an entropy mapping for the model which determines (for any spatial scenario) what the spatial equilibrium response will be.
Finally the model is used to explore the effects of connectivities of species interactions and of space on the success of an invading species. Connectivity of the rule structure (species interactions) is found to be the major determinant in success or failure of establishment for an invading species. The effect of landscape size on invasion is secondary.
In summary, we use a simulation model to explore possible ecological theories and paradigms concerning the importance of space and spatial processes to ecological/ biological phenomena.